Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020): BS Yediyurappa-led Karnataka government has triggered a massive controversy by passing one of the stringent anti-cow slaughter laws in the country. The bill, which is a revised version of what chief minister Yediyurappa tried in his previous tenure, seeks to put a complete ban on cow slaughter in the state. The bill has been passed by the assembly but yet to be cleared in the Council. The government has said that it will bring an ordinance to get the bill in effect. Anti-cow slaughter Bill – Definition and punishment The bill provides for punishment of not less than three years and maximum up to seven years in case a person is found indulging in illegal transportation, smuggling, atrocities and slaughtering of cattle in Karnataka. What stands out in the bill is not just the length of punishment but the definition of cattle in the law. Under the new law, buffalo has also been included in the definition of cattle. So if anyone is caught while smuggling or slaughtering a cow, calf of a cow, bullock, and buffalo below the age of thirteen years that person will face three-seven years of imprisonment with a penalty between Rs 50,000 to 5 lakh for the first offence. For the second or consequent offence, the penalties will be between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Under the bill, sub-inspector ranked officers or a competent authority will have the power to carry out search operations at premises and seize cattle and materials used or intended to use to commit the offence. And the seizures will then be reported before the SDM. Why is Congress protesting against the Bill? Former chief minister Siddaramaiah said that the anti-cow slaughter bill was not just harsh and unscientific but also against the interests of farmers. He said if the BJP was genuinely interested, it should have instituted socio-economic study and the report could have been presented in front of the public for their opinion before taking the decision. The senior Congress leader said before taking the decision to ban cow slaughter, the Yediyurappa government should consider purchasing all unproductive cattle or the government should reimburse farmers to look after the cattle. In a series of tweets, the former chief minister cited a survey in which it is estimated that 3.4 male calf is born every year and about 3.5 crore cattle will reach reproductive age every year. He said if the average lifespan of a bull is 10 years then there will be 34 crore bull in the next 10 years, and more than 6 crore cows will stop producing milk every year. He also pointed out that Rs 100 is needed every day to look after one cow which works out at Rs 36,500 per annum. The former chief minister, currently leader of the Opposition in assembly, said that a study has found that close to 5 lakh acre land and Rs 10 lakh crore is needed for infrastructure development to look after unproductive cattle. He continued that the cattle census held last year showed that there are 84,69,004 cattle in Karnataka. More than 2.76 crore ton of feed is needed to support the cattle but we have only 1.49 crore tons. How will the BJP government address this shortage? the Congress leader asked. He further said that Karnataka witnessed drought in 15 out of the last 20 years and farmers had sold their cattle when there was no harvest and feed. In such cases, he asked, how will farmers be able to sell if the bill is passed. The former chief minister said that there are only 159 cow shelter houses in the state to look after the cattle and the state government has failed to provide feed for the existing cattle. He said that it would be impossible for the government to feed all the cattle if the farmers decide to send them to cow shelters.